Emirates Lions 15-9 Edinburgh Rugby: Mike Blair on ‘eagle-eyed’ TMO and key momentum shift

While reluctant to dwell on refereeing decisions, Mike Blair was left to rue a few inconsistencies on the part of the officials as the Edinburgh coach reflected on his side’s 15-9 defeat by the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg

Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair felt the decision to rule out Blair Kinghorn's try was the correct one.  (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair felt the decision to rule out Blair Kinghorn's try was the correct one. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

The visitors picked up a losing bonus point for their efforts, giving them a more than decent five-point haul from their South African mini-tour.

Edinburgh had led the Lions 6-5 early in the second half when the game swung away from them at Ellis Park. Blair Kinghorn had a try disallowed for an earlier knock-on by Ben Vellacott and then Magnus Bradbury was sin-binned before Vincent Tshituka scored the Lions’ second try of the game.

Blair felt Italian referee Gianluca Gnecchi got both decisions right but wasn’t so enamoured of the television match official.

“We were obviously disappointed with the no-try decision with Blair Kinghorn,” said the Edinburgh coach. “We believe we had managed the game really well up until that stage and that would have given us a nice buffer.

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“We lost a little bit of momentum after that. But I do think it was the right decision. It shouldn’t have been a try.

“I felt the TMO was particularly eagle-eyed on one side of the game.”

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Pressed further on the performance of the TMO, Ben Crouse of the South African Rugby Union, Blair said: “I’m always conscious of saying something like this because I don’t want it to be the story.

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“But I felt like they spent a lot of time looking for issues that we’d done. They spent about three minutes trying to find a high tackle that was made when our player was on his knees.

“There were other ones as well where we sifted through footage for ages trying to look at things.

“We had a couple of clear-cut headshots and a no-arms tackle which weren’t looked at. But I don’t want that to be the story.

“We got the rub of the green in different ways last week against the Sharks. So things do go in swings and roundabouts at times.

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“We just needed to be a little bit more clinical and we could have won this game.”

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